Madrid: Diego López; Dani Carvajal, Pepe, Varane, Arbeloa; Illarramendi, Xabi Alonso (Casemiro 82’), Di María; Bale, Benzema (Morata 81’), Jesé (Isco 73’). 4-3-3.
Elche: Manu Herrera; Domingo Cisma, Botía, Lombán, Edu Albácar; Rivera (Aarón Ñíguez 72’), Rubén Pérez, Javi Márquez; Carles Gil (Cristian Herrera 78’), Coro, Manu del Moral (Fidel 73‘). 4-3-3.
1-0. 34. Illarramendi. Shot which hit del Moral after Di María corner fell to him.
2-0. 71. Bale. Picked up short Alonso pass outside area and struck shot in off bar.
3-0. 80. Isco. Collected Benzema pass and turned angled shot inside near post.
Yellow cards: Rivera 39’, Pepe 50’, Botía 62’, Javi Márquez 69’.
Real Madrid beat Elche 3-0 on Saturday afternoon to move three points clear of Barcelona and Atlético Madrid in the table. Only a couple of hours before kick-off Ancelotti was disappointed to learn that the club’s appeal against Ronaldo’s ban was once again turned down, and with the Portuguese striker missing for a third league game in a row and Modric suspended, he was without two of his key play-makers. The visitors didn’t put up much of a fight though, and Bale and Jesé went close before Illarramendi opened the scoring following a Di María corner, his shot taking a deflection off Manu del Moral to wrong-foot the keeper. After the break though they were unable to make much headway, and the local supporters started to get restless until twenty minutes from the end, when Bale fired a long shot in off the crossbar (timed at over 100 Kph), which gave Manu Herrera no chance. The crowd were back with them, and some ten minutes later Isco began a counter-attack following an Elche corner which he himself finished off after picking up a final pass from Benzema. Barcelona’s defeat later in the day means that Madrid are back on top after a twenty month gap, and although Atlético could still catch their city neighbours when they play tomorrow, the better goal difference means that they are likely to stay there by the end of the weekend.